“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he (Jesus) said to them (Pharisees), “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! … thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mk 7:6–13).
This book contains 11 abbreviated life / conversion accounts by people raised in Roman Catholicism and who, in spite of some good and helpful features found in that organization, eventually recognized the official teachings and traditions of Rome’s ritualism, formalism, pageantry, ecclesiology, and dogmas mostly empty, artificial, lacking in divine authority and power, and spiritually and emotionally counter-productive, all of which stems from the fact that they were and are contrary in critical respects to the clear teachings of Holy Scripture.
While the above Scripture, in one of Jesus’ many contentious, recorded encounters with the dominant Jewish religious organization of his day, might well apply in some degree to all of us, false religions (and even true religion poorly understood) generally set up elaborate, artificial, man-made or altered systems of rules or practices for attaining salvation (versus explicitly and divinely sanctioned commands) however salvation might be understood, and demand that its initiates and adherents jump through those hoops in order to be in good standing with their serious distortions of the God Who is (or whatever alternate ultimate reality they conceive). Probably no major ‘Christian’ organization of the Christian era does this more extensively or better exemplifies the pattern and practices of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time than does the Roman organization, self-identified as the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).
The testimonies in this book are honest and generally non-polemical (and much milder than the divine rebuke of Pharisees above); they are loving and truthful in tone and respectful of certain helpful elements of Roman teachings and practices. At the same time, these people express great relief and profound gratitude for having been liberated from the man-made, guilt / fear-based bondages of self-attained and easily lost works-righteousness officially taught and practiced in the Roman church, core teachings that generally ignore, undermine, and / or directly contradict the prophetic and apostolic teachings of sacred Scripture.
These Christ-honoring choices to leave Rome for more biblically faithful churches were generally the result of carefully evaluated decisions resulting from long-term exposure to Scripture and loving, scriptural Christians as these converts learned to compare and contrast the divine teachings of Scripture to the man-made traditions of Rome, over time rightly finding the latter gravely lacking and spiritually harmful. Once those contrasts were more clearly seen, moving to a more biblically faithful faith and practice became much less traumatic, even absolutely compelling for them.
These people are in the process of learning the great, foundational truths of Scripture as authoritatively preached and taught in the world-altering ministries of the Holy Spirit via the apostles’ teachings and divinely recaptured with somewhat similar effect, clarity, and fidelity in the Protestant Reformation. Rome may state that salvation comes from God by grace through faith in Christ as taught by Scripture to the glory of God. But Scripture, in contrast, teaches that salvation is …
from God ALONE by His gracious choice ALONE through divinely given faith ALONE via the atoning sacrifice and merit(s) of Christ ALONE as taught by canonical Scripture ALONE to the glory of the triune God ALONE.
If our faith rests, partially or wholly, in anything other than the Christ of history and His fully meritorious sacrifice on behalf of His chosen ones (the Christ who alone is perfectly co-identical with Jesus of Nazareth of Scripture and of true Christian faith), such as a church or organization, or ours or another person’s works / ‘goodness’ / merit, etc., that faith is seriously, dangerously defective and may actually be damning.
Another highly recommended book with more well-documented detail on RCC history, official beliefs and practices, while extensively comparing those to Scripture, is Catholicism – East of Eden, written by a former Irish Catholic, a Roman ‘priest’ for 22 years.
I received a copy of this paperback gratis from CrossFocusedReviews in exchange for a review.